Natural Hoof Care Confession and Compromise

Submitted by Carol Warren, Team Easyboot 2012 Member

I have a confession to make. I have tried to trim my horse's hooves myself. I had a great natural hoof care specialist show me several times what to do and how to do it. I tried to do as she showed me and I did fairly well. My confession is this--I hate hoof trimming. I am sorry, but that is the truth of the matter. My problem is there are no known natural hoof care specialists within a 3 hour drive of where I live. I have tried to do all the trimming, balancing, shaping of the hoof myself. Lack of confidence and lack of skills are big factors in my dislike of hoof trimming. I have improved in these areas tremendously, but I still hate doing it. My horse is really tolerant of me working on his hooves. I feel like I have a decent understanding of what and how to do a natural hoof trim for my horse, but I do not like hoof trimming!

My compromise. I have my regular farrier trim every 4 weeks. He knows I prefer the natural hoof method, but he is really not a believer. He does a great job of balancing the hoof. I have to beg him to take the heels down a little more than he likes. Then I follow up by taking the toe back and adding the mustang roll. I do this a few days after his trim and at about 2 weeks into the growth cycle. And you know what--that toe crack Newt has had for years is almost gone! Between the two of us, we are managing to do our version of natural hoof care.

Now the funny part of the story. I was telling my farrier of how I was going to write this blog, and he did the best natural hoof trim he has ever done!  Not perfect, but I did not have to rasp the toe back or add the mustang roll right after he trimmed. But I will keep rasping the hooves every 2 weeks.

The moral of my story is this. I do not have reasonable access to a great natural hoof care specialist. I hate doing all of the hoof care myself (confession). But I have found a way (compromise) to provide the best hoof care possible for my horse and it is working. He is sound, and his hooves are healthier than they were at the first of the year when we began this journey. You just have to take the time to find what is available and works for you in your life.

Photo above of left front taken April 2012, a few days after a  natural hoof care specialist trimmed Newt for the first time. In this photo the hoof crack looks markedly better than before the trim. Sorry I did not get a before photo. You can also see the smaller crack on the right front toe. Just before this trim, my farrier wanted to put shoes on to correct the worsening toe cracks. I knew shoeing was not the answer. I kindly told him he could not put shoes on because I had just been selected to Team Easyboot 2012. Thus began our journey of Natural Hoof Care and although it was a twisted path, we are finally arriving.

Photo above taken October 2012, just before the trim by my regular farrier. Note the crack is better, but still present. The right front toe crack has been gone for a couple of months.

Photo above of left front taken April 2012 a few days after the first natural trim. Notice how far the unhealthy tissue extends into the sole. Also notice how far back the wall of the toe is rolled back, taking much of the weight off the toe wall.

Photo above of left front toe taken just prior to trimming in Oct 2012. Notice the improvement in the health of the toe. Almost no toe crack left.

Photo above taken right after trim October 2012. No toe crack. I still need to roll the hoof wall some, but the toe is so much healthier.

Could this be the end of that frustrating toe crack?

Carol Warren


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